Scottish Liberal Democrats have today urged the Scottish Government, Labour and Greens to reconsider after they voted in Education Committee to push back to 2023 giving parents the legal right to both defer starting Primary 1 and have it replaced with funded early learning and childcare.
Scottish Liberal Democrats voted against this delay, calling for the legal right to be given to parents immediately as part of the education system's response to the impact of the pandemic, with four-year-olds set to start school in August despite having missed out on 18 months of normal play and interactions.
The issue is now set to be the subject of a full vote of Parliament
Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP commented:
"Four years olds will be turning up to school for the first time after 18 months of missed interactions and play. Some children might barely remember socialising with anyone outside their bubble.
"The £4,500 price tag that the SNP seem determined to leave hanging over families thinking of deferring their child's start at school is outrageous. Children only start school once so introducing this in 2023 does nothing to help those worst affected by the pandemic.
"Parents should be given the legal right to both defer Primary 1 and have it replaced with funded early learning and childcare. They should be allowed to concentrate solely on what is best for their child, not the family's financial situation. The Scottish Government has the power to remove the extra financial barrier.
"I will continue to support the work of the Give Them Time campaign to make that a reality.”